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Wednesday, 15 December, 1999, 23:33 GMT
Police banner reopens murder hunt

The banner It is the first time police have used such a banner

Police in London have unveiled a banner close to the scene of a murder committed two years ago in the hope of breaking a "wall of silence" around the crime.

The banner has been hung from a railway bridge within sight of the north London bar where graphic artist Ronald Hinkson was stabbed 10 times in a suspected race murder in September 1997.

The unprecendented step challenges local people to turn the killer in.

Ron Hinkson Ron Hinkson: "A gentle giant"
Thirty-two year old Mr Hinkson, who was black, had become a father only six months earlier and was described as a "gentle giant" who would never have caused trouble.

He had reportedly been trying to break up a fight before the attack.

He was murdered on 14 September 1997 outside the Bar Zaar in Camden Road, Camden, which was packed with more than 100 people.

In echoes of the Stephen Lawrence case, Mr Hinkson's family have accused police officers of allowing vital witnesses to get away on the night, and not keeping relatives informed about progress in the case.

Bar Zaar closed soon afterwards following a campaign by the Hinkson family to cancel its entertainment licence.

'Local people know killer'

Police confirmed they had identified a suspect within 48 hours of the killing, but had been unable to trace him.

The banner spells out that the officers investigating the murder are certain some local people know who killed Mr Hinkson.

Offering a 21,000 reward, the banner says: "You know who killed Ronald Hinkson. You know where the killer is. You saw or heard what happened. You could secure justice for Ronald's family."

Julie Hinkson Julie Hinkson: "He is going to kill again"
It then lists the police incident room number.

Detective Chief Inspector John Sweeney, leading the murder hunt, said he was sure there people out there who could play a large role in tracking down the killer.

He said: "We believe we know who killed Ronald Hinkson and we are determined to trace the suspect.

"I believe there are people who have valuable information about Ronald's murder and I am appealing for those people to come forward."

Mr Hinkson's sister Julie said: "Hand this killer in, he is dangerous. Please allow the family to grieve properly and help police put Ron's killer behind bars."

Anyone with information should contact the incident room at Hendon on 0181 358 1874, or if you wish to remain anonymous call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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